We've been saying for awhile now that Facebook Fans are not necessarily Advocates. Just because someone has joined your Facebook fan page doesn't necessarily mean that they are willing to pro-actively advocate you. In other words, there's a big difference between "liking" something and evangelizing it. A new study by email service provider ExactTarget backs this up. According to the study, 70% of Facebook members who are a fan of at least one brand say that being a fan doesn't give a brand permission to market to them and 40% of fans don't believe brands should be marketing in social networks at all. The point is this: don't treat your Facebook Fans as if they've opted in to an email campaign (see this post).
Now, compare the findings of the ExactTarget study to a study Zuberance conducted for a leading consumer company that sells cooking utensils and other home and kitchen gadgets.
- 64% of customers we surveyed said they are Advocates (They recommend the brand and its products to friends.)
- 14% of these customers are frequent Advocates. (They recommend the brand and its products 3 to 4 times each month.
- 78% of Advocates said they're interested in participating in Advocate program
- 69% said they were interested in previewing new products and providing feedback
- 33% said they were interested in attending and participating special event
- 22% said they wanted to pro-actively spread positive WOM by writing product reveiws and testimonials (and this percentage would be higher if these customers knew how easy it is do this.)
Summary: Your Facebook Fans may not be that into you, but your Advocates are. They want you to engage them. They want you to ask their opinions. And they are very willing to help you market your products and services as long as you do it in a way that respects them.
PS: Thanks to Alex Littlewood, president of the Silicon Valley chapter of the American Marketing Association, for sharing the ExactTarget write-up with us.